As we were planning our Spring Break destination, many places were discussed, and Charleston, S.C. was the final decision! This would be our second trip to Charleston as we went there last year, which incidentally became our last trip in the pop up. This time, camped at a public campground instead of a private one, tried new adventures, and ate well both at the campground and around town.
James Island County Park
Inspired by RVFTA, our reliable source of campground recommendations, we booked early to secure a site at James Island County Park. The campground has 124 sites, ten cottages, a nice camp store, a recreation room opened 24/7, good bathhouse facilities, and easy access to the county park. There are also plenty of large trees to provide shade in the summer months. Our site was a water and electric gravel-surface back in with a picnic table, fire pit, and had easy access to a pond, the rec room, and bathhouse. Considered alone, this is a good campground; considered as a component of James Island County Park, this is a great campground in an outstanding park.
James Island County Park offers a 50 foot climbing wall, a disc golf course, bicycle, canoe, SUP, and kayak rentals, a pool and splash park, miles of trails for walking, running, or cycling, a large playground area, large, open spaces, a dog park with a beach, a lake, saltwater fishing and crabbing in the river, and probably more. We spent a lot of our time enjoying the park and would go back just for the park's features. We had family join us that stayed in the cabins. The cabins are nice three bedroom units with a large screened deck that seemed like a good value for visiting the area.
We bounced back and forth, learning history of the Civil War and World War II, which confused the kids. They call everything before they were born the 'olden times,' so telling the difference between time periods is too much for them at this point. One place where the histories of war blend together is at Fort Moultrie. Fort Moultrie defended Charleston Harbor during the Revolution, was occupied by the Confederate Army after being abandoned by the Union for the stronger fortification of Fort Sumter during the Civil War and later became just a portion of the coast defense network across Sullivan’s Island during the World Wars. Fort Moultrie is worthy of a visit and also boasts its own Junior Ranger badge.
The final of our three Junior Ranger badges during this visit was the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site. Pinckney was a signer of the Constitution but was also a big part of South Carolina’s history. As we visited the forts, we had already heard his name many times. The Pinckney site is less visual than the forts, but a good way to learn about an important American and the site offers beautiful gardens and landscaping.
Our final piece of history, which blended with local legends and lore was the Wicked Charleston Walking Tour. We had previously done a carriage tour and decided to explore on our own this time. We download the app for this tour for $1.99 and enjoyed it. We used it more as a history tour, reading the legends associated with each of the stops and omitted some of the scarier stories for the kids. This was a one mile walk with nine sites and it gave us a better perspective of this great town. This tour doesn’t replace the guided walking and carriage tours, but may be a good compliment to them.
On our last full day, we decided that we had to get to the beach. It had been cool, gray, and windy all week, but we had to hit the beach at Folly Beach. Folly Beach is a classic beach destination: the streets are lined with seafood restaurants, surf shops, and t-shirt stores. The beach is nice and easy to access, giving us the beach experience until our next trip.
Burgers. We really enjoyed Sesame Burgers and Beer. Something unique at this restaurant is the option to get your burger served on a bed of salad. This is simple and a great upgrade for our family that we wish we saw more often. The burgers are of high quality beef, cooked well, and have interesting toppings. Another repeat for us was Poe’s Tavern on Sullivan Island. Poe’s décor is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, who was stationed at Fort Moultrie for a short time. It offers awesome burgers and is a great stop after the beach or Fort Moultrie.
Tacos. A non-paleo splurge for us is tacos, and a place with good tacos was Taco Boy. Taco Boy offered a mix of traditional and less traditional tacos including several vegetarian options, served in a vibrantly decorated location. We also had good tacos at White Duck Taco Shop on James Island. The tacos were less traditional like the Thai peanut chicken and Buffalo chicken.
BBQ. Melvin’s BBQ has been smoking butts in South Carolina since 1939. Their BBQ is solid and servings are generous. Swig and Swine has really good brisket and creative side dishes. We also enjoyed house made pickles and pickled vegetables, wings, and Brussels sprouts with pork belly. Nicks BBQ also does a very fine job on their brisket and their house-made BBQ chips are awesome!
Upscale. We typically stick to casual dining, but we did make an exception. Our family kept the kids for an evening so we enjoyed a date night at Cure. We were debating where to go and had planned to head into Charleston when we came across Cure. It was very close to the campground on a rainy night. They were advertising their bourbon selection and oyster bar. We were in. Both were good as was the entrees we tried. In hind sight, we regret not also finding a second date night to try Husk.
Campground Cooking. We did a fair amount of cooking at the campground. On the way back from Folly Beach, we stopped at Crosby’s Fish and Shrimp Market to get shrimp for dinner. The shrimp we bought was great! Additionally we cooked a lot on our Primus two burner stove. The stove gets hot without burning propane as fast as we expected. We use it outside and have found our Alps Dining Table to be an ideal outdoor kitchen work surface.
Our return trip to Charleston was a lot of fun! When trip planning, we know that there are so many new places that we want to explore, but we also enjoy repeat visits to locations such as Charleston.
Where are we headed next? We have a weekend in a nearby state park plus an exciting location for urban camping in May. Stay tuned for more Cricket Camping Adventures!
Shane and Jessica
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